Health and Science

E. coli outbreak sickens 72 people in 5 states, CDC says

Key Points
  • E. coli has sickened 72 people across five states, the CDC said Friday.
  • Eight people have been hospitalized.
  • Health officials have not pinpointed a specific food, grocer or restaurant as the source.
Rodolfo Parulan Jr. | Moment | Getty Images

Health officials are investigating an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 72 people across five states, federal health agencies said Friday.

The reported cases were in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement announcing the outbreak. Eight people have been hospitalized, the CDC added.

The agency is working with the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service to investigate the outbreak. They have not yet pinpointed a specific food, grocery store or restaurant chain that's responsible for the infections. As a result, the CDC is not recommending people avoid a particular food.

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E. coli O103 is the particular strain involved in the cases, which were reported between March 2 and March 29, the CDC said. The people infected range between the ages of 1 to 74, with 17 being the median age.

Symptoms of E. coli include severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC. Most people get better within five to seven days, though the illness can be severe and in some cases even life-threatening, the CDC said.

Last year, an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickened 62 people across 16 states and Washington, D.C.